Pakistan work conditions pose safety threat

The International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers Associations (IFATCA) has expressed serious concern that air traffic controllers in Pakistan are able to provide the required safe and efficient air traffic service due to poor working conditions.
IFATCA member association, the Pakistan Air Traffic Controllers Guild (PATCG) reports that there is a serious shortage of qualified air traffic controllers in Pakistan, resulting in a lack of required ongoing refresher training, necessary to maintain professional standards.

IFATCA reports that shortages in staff are made up by current staff thereby restricting access to leave entitlements. As a consequence air traffic controllers are becoming fatigued, which compromise their ability to provide a safe service.

IFATCA adds that it understands that promises in regard to career progression, such as special cadre ratings and ATCL allowances and licence insurance have not been fulfilled, and conditions have fallen below that of other CAA employees. Further, reports indicate that some ATC infrastructure, such as radar equipment, is being operated without any backup facility.

“IFATCA is calling on the national CAA to take immediate measures to address the shortage of skilled controllers in Pakistan and to prevent ATC sectors from being operated without the necessary safety margins,” said Alexis Brathwaite, president and CEO of IFATCA. “Air Traffic Control is a complex and demanding task and controllers bear a significant responsibility for the safety of the flying public. Pakistan’s Air Traffic Controllers should be adequately recognised for the professional skills they display every day.”

IFATCA is calling on the Pakistan CAA to honour promises made to controllers regarding career progression, rating allowances and working conditions, including access to leave and training. IFATCA further calls for the CAA to develop suitable staffing numbers to allow for ATC positions to be operated without dangerous overloading, and for facilities to be maintained at acceptable international standards.

“At a time when the projected growth for air travel in the Asia Pacific region represents one of the highest in the world, Pakistan should not allow itself to be seen as operating a substandard ATC system and must take immediate steps to support its Air Traffic Controllers,” said Brathwaite

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